Snack time in Rome is all about the crispy pizza

May 15 2024, 12:34
Ever heard of "scrocchiarella"? It's an ancient and delicious baked good, perfect at any hour

In Rome, everything must be crispy, especially when it comes to pizza. While the by-the-slice and round pizzas rolled out with a rolling pin are now famous throughout Italy, less known outside the city is the "scrocchiarella" pizza. That's its name, and understanding the reason is simple: the "crunch" test in this case has no equal.

The Romans' obsession with pizza

Let's start from the beginning, from the concept of pizza for us Romans. Outsiders often make fun of us because we tend to call anything pizza. In our defense, it must be said that the ovens in the Capital have counters stocked with so many goodies impossible to define otherwise: round little pizzas, small ones with tomatoes, scorched at the edges, greasy and oily, or those made of puff pastry, fragrant and melting, and then the mythical red oven pizza, an institution. The pizza by the paddle, thin and crispy, with a crunchy base, rigid edges (true connoisseurs always take the corner piece), slipped into the white paper bag that always ends up getting dirty on the bottom.

What's a scrocchiarella pizza like

The "scrocchiarella" pizza, however, deserves a separate chapter. The white one can be found almost everywhere, but several bakeries also make it in red version. Flavorful, salty enough, with each bite it's a real feast: the most cooked and crispy parts (those that, indeed, "crunch" under your teeth) occasionally give way to a softer piece, almost gummy at times. It's a simple dough made with water, oil, flour, and salt, rolled out thinly, folded over itself, and baked. No yeast, but lots of bubbles on the surface that create even more texture play on the palate.

The Roman snack

For us Romans, it's the mid-morning snack at school, but also the perfect snack for that pre-dinner languor, as well as the favorite appetizer of many pubs and wine bars in the city, which serve it alongside a glass of wine or a nice mug of beer (some examples: Gentle Boozers in Garbatella, La Mescita in Monteverde Vecchio, Buskers in San Paolo, which stock up from Forno Marchetti). It's found in most Roman bakeries, especially the historical ones: buy plenty of it, because "scrocchiarella" is addictive, just like cherries, and serve it broken up for a different kind of aperitif.

It doesn't need accompaniments or additional condiments, it's not an alternative to crackers or even bread. It's "scrocchiarella" pizza, a love affair without end.

Opening photo by Forno Marchetti

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